AI has always been a part of our world. Below we revisit the messages of the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still in Klaatu’s final speech, with robot Gort.
I am leaving soon and you will forgive
me if I speak bluntly.
The Universe grows smaller every day —
and the threat of aggression by any
group — anywhere — can no longer
There must be security for all — or
no one is secure… This does not
mean giving up any freedom except
the freedom to act irresponsibly.
Your ancestors knew this when they
made laws to govern themselves —
and hired policemen to enforce them.
We of the other planets have long
accepted this principle. We have an
organization for the mutual protection
of all planets — and for the complete
elimination of aggression. A sort of
United Nations on the Planetary
level… The test of any such higher
authority, of course, is the police
force that supports it. For our
policemen, we created a race of robots—
Their function is to patrol the
planets — in spaceships like this
one — and preserve the peace. In
matters of aggression we have given
them absolute power over us.
At the first sign of violence they
act automatically against the
aggressor. And the penalty for
provoking their action is too terrible
The result is that we live in peace,
without arms or armies, secure in
the knowledge that we are free from
aggression and war — free to pursue
more profitable enterprises.
We do not pretend to have achieved
perfection — but we do have a system —
and it works.
I came here to give you the facts.
It is no concern of ours how you run
your own planet — but if you threaten
to extend your violence, this Earth
of yours will be reduced to a burned-
Your choice is simple. Join us and
live in peace. Or pursue your present
course — and face obliteration.
We will be waiting for your answer.
The decision rests with you.”